Apples to Apples

  • “But what is the difference between the two? They are both Schools of manipulation, they both alter the fabrics of Mundus! So why separate them? That is our resolve, Azroth,” the Archmagister's impatience was swelling, a commonality at this particular conclave of the Council of Mages.

    Azroth, a representative of the Council of Artaeum, entertained an impressive, three-day filibuster on the subject of Mysticism and its seemingly inevitable absorption by the School of Alteration, an absolute absurdity on the Isle of Artaeum. Seemingly inevitable aside from a seemingly endless supply of apples the Psijic continually produced from his robes providing his filibuster nourishment, a not-so-secretive sub-topic among the conclave.

    “You see, Castus, the difference is the object in question. Alteration is the manipulation of the Mundane. A shield spell fortifies your physical form. A feather spell alters the weight of objects. A waterwalking spell affects your buoyancy. It's nothing more than the creation we live in! Magic affecting the Mundane, affecting Mundus.

    Mysticism, the Old Ways if you reside on Artaeum, it is the very antithesis of Alteration. Perceive it as altering the arcane itself, hence the redundant title chosen by your people: Mysticism, mystical magic. Take for instance magicka absorption, a rare gift indeed. The spell actually transfers magicka from one source to another – arcane affecting arcane! Marvelous! Another: spells of detection. It does not matter, detection of life, of death, of enchantments – raw magic. You aren't detecting the Mundane subject itself but the magic flowing within the subject: a creature's magicka, the spell that ties the undead to life, the magic of the soul that powers an enchanted artifact.

    Consider the wondrous anomaly of teleportation. I speak of the Mark and Recall spells, of course...”

    “We are well aware of these spells, Azroth,” Castus's volume increased with every word. “We are also aware that their use has been largely prohibited since the Mystic Rogues stole the Necromancer's Amulet from Vvardenfell's Archmage, leading to the rise of Mannimarco, himself! Need you reminded of the crimes associated with such spells!?”

    “A monstrous misuse of Mysticism, Archmagister.” Azroth endured. “Yet the use of the spells are indeed the topic at hand. Do you know how they work? No matter, let me elaborate.” A wave of sighs ebbed his analysis. “A Mark spell creates an arcane waypoint exactly where it was cast, invisible to the eye and impossible to detect, only known to the caster. Days, months, years could pass and the waypoint would remain so long as the caster survives. Casting the spell again simply resets the waypoint at the new, exact location. The Recall spe-”

    “We know the uses of such simplistic spells, Psijic,” Villina Dren cut in. During the Red Year she had learned to call the Arcane University her home. The Dunmer was a quick study but shrewd by all means.

    “My analysis may go on all day if you keep chiming in, Telvanni,” adding a bit of grit on his last word Azroth returned the sour taste in his mouth. “As I was saying, the Recall spell, when cast, defies the Mundane transcending time and space to the exact waypoint. Like a mirror, the spells are one in the same. One is cast, marking a moment ignorant of time. The other sends the caster to that moment, again ignorant of time.” Absentmindedly, Azroth reached into the portal in his pocket and plucked another apple from a tree on Artaeum taking a rather theatrical bite of the golden fruit.

    “Alright, that's enough!” Balius the Imperial Battlemage shot to his feet casting an accusing finger at the Psijic Monk. “Where are those apples coming from!?”

    Azroth braved another crunch of his apple, his eyes locked on Balius but his face as remiss as ever. He cleared his palate and simply replied “Here in my pocket. Would you care for one?” With an outstretched arm he presented his half-eaten scrap to the short-tempered Imperial.

    “Ladies and gentlemen of the Council of Mages,” Balius addressed his peers, “this Psijic Monk has babbled on about a subject that we have unanimously settled. Mysticism. Alteration. It does not matter what we call it, the spells have the same nature. Does a fire spell not destroy like a frost spell? And Illusion spells all affect the targets mind.”

    “Does Destruction not,” Azroth muttered to deaf ears.

    “Future generations will learn these spells regardless of their titles. Let us overrule this fruit-hoarding hermit and call it a day.”

    “Call it day? What would a “day” be if you did not know its name or its role?” Azroth's questioning gaze fell on Archmagister Castus. “Archmagister, you requested our counsel on a topic near and dear to us yet fail to accept our insight. Call your understanding of the Old Ways whatever you choose but your apprentices and many to come will lose sight of a defining dichotomy in magical scholarship. Mundane and Arcane are as day and night. Know that the Psijics will always recognize Mysticism as the most important School of magic. We will continue to scry Nirn and prevent the unseen dangers for the short-sighted. We will enlighten those who are willing to seek for themselves. And we will not turn our backs on discoveries that have been misused by Nirn's greeds.”

    With his parting words Azroth disappeared into billows of lavender haze, tell-tale of Mysticism spells. All that remained were dozens of bruised apple cores rolling across the ground.

    “The man certainly knows how to make an exit,” Archmagister Castus jested, relieved the filibuster had finally come to an end.

    “It's unwise to discount Psijic counsel, Archmagister,” Villina said with no conviction whatsoever.

    “Something so trivial will have no effect in our lifetime.”

    After three of the longest days in Mundus the Council of Mages in the Arcane University had come to a decision. Mysticism would be absorbed by the other Schools of Magic and cease to exist as scholarship in the Imperial City.

    Back in Artaeum, Azroth slumped against an apple tree picked bare of its fruit. The apples would blossom once more but much had been lost that day.

    Artwork: Abstract Apple Tree by Patty Baker


  • Alastor
    Alastor   ·  October 21, 2015
    I have no prior knowledge of such things. What is this you speak of?
  • krissthebliss
    krissthebliss   ·  October 21, 2015
    Btw I'm making a ebook and your guide and story will be in it as a practice for me.... don't worry I'll be crediting you for the words 
  • Alastor
    Alastor   ·  November 9, 2014
    Sounds right up my alley :)

    I've just started Ed Greenwood's Elminster series and am loving it. When I'm done I'll check out this Feist guy though.
  • Tolveor
    Tolveor   ·  November 9, 2014
    Sorry, it was Oranges, not apples. His name is Nakor, I really like his character though. He ends up being the manifestetion of a trickster god. I think he is one of the main characters in the Serpentwar saga if you want to look it up :)
  • Alastor
    Alastor   ·  October 30, 2014
    Thanks Casey! I tried to throw a little humor in there while filling some gaps in TES history and expressing my feelings on the dichotomy of Alteraion and Mysticism :)
  • Casey
    Casey   ·  October 30, 2014
    This was really well done. An enjoyable read and humorous
  • Alastor
    Alastor   ·  October 13, 2014
    I haven't but I googled him and I'd probably enjoy his work. I pretty much made all this up except the Elder Scrolls stuff but good to know that I'm thinking like a professional writer :D
  • Tolveor
    Tolveor   ·  October 13, 2014
    Oh sorry, was so sure you had read feist. One of hvis characters, can't remember the name, one of his "tricks " is that he have a bag of neverending Apples. What he does is he opens a small portal into the apple stores of a farmer.
  • Alastor
    Alastor   ·  October 13, 2014
    I greatly appreciate it Chris!

    I admit, the intro is a bit of a tongue twister but I really enjoyed the wordplay and just couldn't bring myself to simplify it :)

    Couldn't agree more about Mysticism (Mediumd Armor and Acrobatics t...  more
  • Alastor
    Alastor   ·  October 13, 2014
    I've never read Feist but thanks :)